Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Important new observations from UN's Syria observer mission

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They have now observed that they are being ignored -- at least when they aren't being shot at:

According to UN officials, UN vehicles are shot at almost every day in Syria.

Mr Ban [Ki-moon] told the 15-nation council that UN observers had seen Syrian military convoys approaching villages and tried to stop tank assaults against populated areas, but had been "ignored".

... Ban said shots were fired at the UN convoy which tried to get into the village of Al-Kubeir.

Fortunately, the observers were able to relay this information to the Secretary-General in time for him to take some incredibly tough action:

The Syrian regime has "lost its fundamental humanity" and no longer has any legitimacy, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said on Thursday as he described a massacre of around 90 villagers as "shocking and sickening" and demanded that the killers be brought to account.

Using some of the strongest language yet to condemn the government of Bashar al-Assad, Ban said UN monitors were shot at trying to get to the scene of the massacre on Wednesday.

He said the situation in Syria was close to breaking point and the danger of civil war was imminent and real.

The recent mass killings were "indicative of a pattern that may amount to crimes against humanity," he added. "The Syrian people are bleeding. They are angry. They want peace and dignity. Above all, they all want action."

This statement is indicative of just how deadly are the UN's "shock and awe" peacekeeping tactics. Clearly, this barrage of verbal and written statements -- replete with the most powerful, even brutal, adjectives and metaphors at the UN's disposal -- is expected to entirely overwhelm Assad's defences, dealing a crippling blow to his sense of self-worth.

Previous  UN's response to horrific massacres in Syria had been similarly tough. The "verbal warfare" tactics have been so effective that they may even be given a dedicated UN committee. With such techniques now being routinely employed by UN forces, the international community can proudly proclaim "job done in Syria". Just so long as they stay away from their TV sets or computer screens.

Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz